Mundabor celebrates these Vatican initiatives:
At this point you already all know about the latest, surprisingly coherent decisions in the Vatican. Lest it be told that I only speak of the man in order to criticise him, I would like to say a word or two of praise at least of the coherence involved.
1. The Vatican decision to shut down and destroy all air conditioners within the Vatican city (similar measures will be implemented in every Catholic diocese in time) is at least a sign of coherence. Granted, the one or other old prelate may die, at least indirectly, because of the heat that follows (it promises to be a very hot summer in Rome), but it is good to see that there is the willingness to put one’s sweat where one’s encyclical is. Note that the air conditioning appliances will be destroyed, not sold. It makes sense, as selling them would only encourage consumerism and shift the problem to other offices and households.
2. The decision, also announced, to put an immediate end to every travelling of the Pope is likewise to be praised. In the age of the Internet and social media, the voice of the Pope can reach pretty much anyone without any need to cause huge Co2 emissions for himself, his entourage, the security, the journalists, and the rest of the circus. Twitter is so environmentally friendly…
3. Even more coherent is the decision to put an end to World Youth Days. Millions of people gathering every time. A stunningly expensive exercise in terms of not only money (which can be given to the poor), but emissions. One can agree or not with the ideology of Laudato Si, but here is one saying that at least they practice their bad preaching.
4. I find the decision to have the Vatican carbon-neutral within 2016, and every diocesan office within 2019, a tad extreme. It will obviously require not only to sweat in summer, but also to freeze in winter; and the Roman winters can be fairly punishing at times, at least if you never lived in Connecticut, or Minnesota. It will require to curb the use of electricity, gas, fuel, mobility, food, everything. It will be a mess. But it will also give a great contribution in introducing that kind of simple, poor, rural society in which the Pontiff clearly sees the solution to our problems. And it will be an example. A great, if stupid, example. Continue reading
The powers that be at the Vatican appear to have what they consider to be bigger issues than trifles like religious liberty or the slaying of the unborn:
The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met Friday with Vatican officials who helped draft Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on ecology, evidence that the Obama administration is seeking to hitch its climate-change message onto that of the popular pope.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters that her aim in visiting was to show the Vatican how aligned President Barack Obama and Francis are on climate change. She said she wanted to stress that global warming isn’t just an environmental issue, but a public health threat, and yet also a chance for economic opportunity.
“I think the most important thing that we can do, working with the pope, is to try to remind ourselves that this is really about protecting natural resources that human beings rely on, and that those folks that are most vulnerable — that the church has always been focused on, those in poverty and low income — are the first that are going to be hit and impacted by a changing climate,” she said.
Right you are Green Jobs Answer Man! In regard to Wind Energy, take away the tax subsidies and the entire industry would die:
Let’s take it back to 1992. The parents are watching Murphy Brown, the kids are watching Full House, and people are rockin’ out to Nirvana and Dr. Dre. (Some things never change.) And wind was ready to usher in a new era of energy production. In fact, Matthew Wald wrote in a 1992 New York Times article, “A New Era for Windmill Power,” that “striking improvements in technology, the commercial use of these windmills, or wind turbines as the builders call them, has shown that in addition to being pollution free, they can now compete with fossil fuels in the cost of producing electricity.”
He went on: “Kingsley E. Chatton, president of U.S. Windpower, which operates 22 new-generation windmills here, said the economics of wind power was at the point where it ‘will compete with fossil fuel.’ Others agree.”
Operating subsidies, or installation subsidies, helps get clean energy sources installed but the problem is that current technology is not economically competitive. Everything we do needs to be done with a view toward global competitiveness. Unfortunately, because current technology is not economical relative to alternatives, it does not promote our competitiveness.
The problem is that subsidies promote technological malaise. They take away the incentive to innovate and lower cost by promoting business models geared more toward gaining favor with politicians than on technological innovation. The result is that subsidized industries quickly become dependent on government. At that point, long-term competitiveness becomes secondary to near-term survival, which is generally conditioned on more handouts. Continue reading
It was September of 1966, and gas was gushing uncontrollably from the wells in the Bukhara province of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. But the Reds, at the height of their industrial might, had a novel solution. They drilled nearly four miles into the sand and rock of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, and lowered a 30-kiloton nuclear warhead — more than half-again as large as “Little Boy,” the crude uranium bomb dropped over Hiroshima — to the depths beneath the wellhead. With the pull of a lever, a fistful of plutonium was introduced to itself under enormous pressure, setting off the chain reaction that starts with E = MC2 and ends in Kaboom! The ensuing blast collapsed the drill channel in on itself, sealing off the well.
The Soviets repeated the trick four times between 1966 and 1979, using payloads as large as 60 kilotons to choke hydrocarbon leaks. Now, as the Obama administration stares into the abyss of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and a slicker of sweet, medium crude blankets the Gulf of Mexico, slouching its way toward American beaches and wetlands, Russia’s newspaper of record is calling on the president to consider this literal “nuclear option.”
As well he should. It’s a little less crazy than it sounds. The simple fact is that the leak has confounded all conventional efforts to quell it, forcing British Petroleum and its federal overseers to resort to a series of untested, increasingly unwieldy, and heretofore unsuccessful backup plans as the American people’s impatience and rage grow at geometric rates. In the madness that is Deepwater Horizon, The Bomb may be the sanest choice.